Some of the 83 people convinced by telephone to give money to an unlicensed Langley investment company were seniors, a British Columbia Securities Commission investigation has disclosed.
The BCSC says the people who were contacted by Pacific Ocean Resources lived “across Canada and the U.S.” and included at least 12 retired people, one of whom was living in a rest home.
They were convinced to spend a total of $837,000 U.S.
Some invested more than once.
The BCSC says the 83 made a total of 136 so-called “loan agreements” with 72-year-old Pacific Ocean president, Richmond resident Don Dyer.
Pacific Ocean raised the money between November of 2005 and July of 2009, when the BCSC charged Dyer with selling shares in Global without a licence.
The agreements referred to the funds as “demand loans” but the investors could not get their money back, only shares in a Nevada-based company, Global 8 Environmental Technologies Inc.
“There was no intent on the part of Pacific Ocean, nor expectation on the part of the investors, to receive a cash repayment,” a BCSC panel ruled.
The BCSC said Pacific Ocean broke a BC law against cold-calling people outside the province to sell them securities (the only exception is “close personal friends” or business associates).
During a Nov. 15 BC Securities Commission hearing, Dyer argued his Langley company wasn’t breaking securities laws because it was selling loans, while the commission investigators said the money transfers were thinly-disguised share purchases designed to get around the letter of the law.
In a written decision released Wednesday, Dec. 21, a commission panel found that Dyer was selling securities and had broken the law.
The panel noted that “Dyer is in the business of raising money for public companies, though neither Dyer nor his company are registered to sell securities in B.C.”
A decision on penalties has yet to be made.
In an 2010 online filing, Dyer described himself as an experienced investor who has “worked with many Wall Street brokerage firms such as Goldman Sachs, Prudential and Raymond James.”
Dyer said he became president of Pacific Ocean Resources in 2002.
The Langley-based firm describes itself as a “company that provides marketing consultation services to environmental businesses.”
Global 8, a Nevada company quoted on the U.S. over-the-counter markets, has never filed a prospectus in B.C. the BCSC said.
Global 8 says it “works with partners and consultants to provide solutions for the health and recovery of the environment through the development and operation of world class Environmental Technology Centers.”
In 2009, the Alberta Securities Commission issued a cease trade order against Global 8, accusing the company of raising $19.5 million through illegal trading and distribution of securities to more than 950 Alberta investors.
The B.C. Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province.